As I type these words, Rotten Tomatoes currently identifies a grand total of two movies that bear the distinction of being the “most anticipated” of February — both of which, I’m sorry to say, look like absolute trash.
We’ll start with Madame Web, the latest Marvel movie from Sony that’s being foisted upon an increasingly superhero-averse public on Feb. 14. Everything from the writing to the special effects here look so bad — and you don’t even have to take my word for it. The early box-office predictions are already forecasting a record-low open for Madame Web, which stars Dakota Johnson in the lead as Cassandra Webb — a paramedic who has a near-death experience and gains psychic abilities that allow her to see the future.
“I’ve never really done a movie where you are on a blue screen, and there’s fake explosions going off, and someone’s going, ‘Explosion!’ and you act like there’s an explosion,” Johnson told Entertainment Weekly. “That to me was absolutely psychotic. I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is going to be good at all!”
Narrator: It won’t be, as the trailer below makes perfectly clear.
By the way, regarding that trailer: Shout-out to the person in that video’s comments section who very astutely opined: “I love the low-budget aesthetic. It’s stunning and brave of the film executives and producers to make a feature-length film look like a CW special. Thank you Sony Pictures, for warning me ahead of time before considering wasting my gas and purchasing a ticket to go see this.”
Madame Webb, meanwhile, is not the only movie currently listed on Rotten Tomatoes as February’s most-anticipated. The label also goes to Apple TV+’s Argylle, and quite undeservedly so.
This one is notionally a spy romp, from Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn, and its cast includes Dua Lipa, Henry Cavill, John Cena, Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara, and Rebel Moon’s Sofia Boutella (jamming all those big names into the cast, by the way, is a warning sign all by itself).
The basic plot of the movie is that an author named Elly Conway, played by Howard, is trying to write a spy novel. Whatever she writes, though, ends up actually happening in the real world. And … that’s pretty much it, in a nutshell. Not exactly the stuff that John le Carré, Graham Greene, and Mick Herron classics are made of.
The only thing remotely interesting about this movie, in my humble opinion, is the mystery of just who wrote the newly published book that it’s based on. A chunk of the internet is still convinced that Taylor Swift is behind it, and the official Argylle account on X/Twitter is also fully leaning into that ridiculous conspiracy theory by tweeting out Swift lyrics.
As fractured as the streaming landscape has become, and given that I can only spread myself so thin, the last thing I’m interested in is a platform gimmicking me into watching something new. Not even when the cast members film themselves lip-syncing to a dreadful pop song, like the one below.